The myth of 'collective salvation'

President Obama has made no secret of his belief in "collective salvation"; the religious belief that one cannot achieve salvation by himself, unless he is also concerned for the the salvation of his neighbors, and society as a whole. By salvation of himself and his neighbors insert "for the greater good" or "income redistribution" , or for that matter, any number of things. And it is that "any number of things" that can get us into trouble. Glenn Beck has done a wonderful job in showing just how dangerous this notion can be; when salvation moves from the individual to the wholesale. Things get real fuzzy when the bright line of individual right and wrong , i.e. the Ten Commandments, succumbs to the fog of societal needs and justice.

This concept is not new, neither is the mischief it can create-- often in unexpected and unrecognized ways. Our Civil War is an example. A popular reason for the war , which has been widely taught in our schools , has been the principle of "states rights." In " What This Cruel War Was Over" author Chandra Manning dispels this myth. Both sides had no doubt what this horrendous conflict was about : slavery. Both armies were intensely Christian. The Union Army was essentially the most effective collection of civil rights activists the world has ever seen. For the Northern soldier, the war was intensely personal, about individual right and wrong. There was a very bright distinction, and he himself was fighting to end slavery--not the nebulous notion of states rights.

The Confederate Army and its leaders were just as Christian, if not more so. But they could not fight for the moral imperative of slavery--the mental gymnastics were too much. They were fighting for the greater good of "hearth and home." The collective good of the "Plantation South", a way of life.

By introducing the concept of collective salvation into our political discourse , our modern progressive/liberals have linked God to their old fashioned, largely discredited, notions of class fairness and material equality. With God at their side, they hope for greater success in selling this notion to Americans. Yet, this belief system can come with dangerous, unintended consequences.